This was a difficult list to compile. Almost every show I have played since the #looptheworld adventure began has been memorable for one reason or another. Special mention has to go to Choppers Bar, Koh Tao. Those hot, sweaty nights with the Koh Tao Pub Crawl made up a huge amount of the memories that the tour has brought me so far. Every night at Choppers was another crazy party. So too were all of my performances at Harmony, Ios. However, this here list is about those single shows that stood out. The shows that warmed my heart and kept me on a high for days after getting off stage. Those shows that reward me more than financial gain. The shows I’ll remember long after my career is over. The shows I’ll look back on and smile.
Surfers Paradise Live Festival May 2015
A festival stage definitely helps to make the top 10 list. A big crowd, a great PA, a professional sound man, the whole kit and caboodle. This was also the last show before we took #looptheworld international. On a more personal note; Surfers Paradise Live Festival was special because my family was there. My mum, my little sister Megan and my adorable little nephew Malakai. It was also the first time my newborn nephew had left the house since his birth. I’m very proud of this fact. It will be a story I tell him when he’s older. I hope one day he takes up the musical adventure that has brought me so much satisfaction.
Ios was a big part of the story so far. For two months I played a show every night on Ios at a restaurant called Harmony. Over that time I made countless new friends and came to feel very close with my Ios family. I didn’t start playing at Lotus bar until close to the end of my stay there. I chose to have the Ios farewell show at Lotus Bar over Harmony as it was somewhere different after so many nights at Harmony but also because there was more space for a dance floor. I was nervous that I wouldn’t pull the crowd I hoped for for a successful farewell party. I shouldn’t have been. Everyone that had made an impression on me on that crazy little island made it down and made me feel so very loved and appreciated. I miss those crazy cats.
Of all of the countries we have visited so far England was by far the most difficult. Arriving in London was a bit of a shock to the bank account and the gigs were less frequent and often for less money. This didn’t stop us from having a great time.
I didn’t really know what to expect. Daniel gave me an address and told me to rock up mid afternoon. When we got there we were greeted by the owner of the house and the co-founder of Amwell, Roy. He took us through the little London terrace and out into his cosy inner city backyard where Daniel was setting up a small stage beneath the kitchen window. We then spent the afternoon listening to a bunch of amazing local acts, drinking cider and eating Roy’s famous home made pizza. As the sun began setting Daniel invited me up to perform for everyone. It was a beautiful afternoon and a true pleasure to play for such an appreciative group. Paolo the videographer was there to catch all the action.
A few weeks later Roy sent me a copy of what they filmed. I think it came up really well. Thanks Daniel, Roy, Paolo and all the gang at Amwell Collective. I look forward to doing it all again when I get back in March.
I love Koh Tao. I have since the first day I set foot on that rock in the middle of the Thai Gulf. There is magic there. Until you experience it you will never know it. I’ve traveled there many times now over the past 4 years. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to share with my close friends from back home. It was only February this year that I finally got to share it with Hannah, and like me, she fell in love with the place as soon as we landed at Mae Haad Pier. This June though, when Hannah and I were half way through our Koh Tao leg of #looptheworld we were visited by a bunch of our good friends from back home. Shout out’s to Jonno, Edan, Danielle, Mikey, Anton, Mick, Anthea, Dave, Casey and Hayley. So good to share Turtle Island with you all.
Not only did I get to share the magic of holidaying on Koh Tao with my friends but also a little of the creative side. Casey and I did a couple of shows together. One at Banyan and one at Choppers. They both went down in Koh Tao history. Mikey and I did a couple of shows together at Fishbowl. One was shut down early by the most epic of tropical storms which Edan Chapman Photgraphy was patient enough to get the million dollar shot of. But one of my favourite collaborations on the island is this one right here.
On the 11 June 2015, Jonno, Edan and Andy Stock (a guitarist friend that lives on Koh Tao) came together at Fishbowl Beach Bar with as many cameras as we could muster up including 5 x GoPro’s and 2 x Cannon DSLRs and shot this clip. Jonno later edited together the 40+ Gigabytes of footage for Straight Jacket Productions and now we have a Koh Tao memory that will last forever and that we can share with all of you.
The song is a mash up between Al Green’s classic “Let’s Stay Together” and the hip hop verses from my own track “You Don’t Know” from my 2009 EP SW&theE. I love Al Green, I was lucky enough back in 2011 to see him live in Melbourne at the Palace Theater in St Kilda with my good mate and fellow loop warrior Andy V. The show was everything I expected and more from the living legend. Andy and I used to play this song years ago jamming in Melbourne town and last year we recorded a version on our EP Live on Koh Tao which you can download free here. That version happened to be recorded live at Fishbowl almost exactly one year before this one.
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I should have written this weeks ago. It’s not that I’ve been avoiding it or even putting it off, actually I’ve been looking forward to it. There is an explanation to my laziness but only those that have spent a bit of time on a tropical island will truly understand. Hannah and I have come to refer to this phenomenon as Island time. Tomorrow doesn’t actually mean tomorrow on Koh Tao, it more accurately translates to eventually. The hands on a Koh Tao clock don’t point to specific hours of AM and PM but more a rough target at which we’ll aim. Those that refuse to give up their slave to the routine ways of the cities we live in find it extremely frustrating, but being frustrated will do nothing to change island time. It’s best to give in and let the island dictate your schedule. Today the island decided I’d write my blog post. So here it is.
We have been here on Koh Tao, a tiny little island in the middle of the Thai Gulf, for almost 6 weeks now and I have enjoyed every second of it, even the Thai belly, it’s like a constant reminder I’m on an adventure. It does make me worry occasionally when I’m on stage in the middle of a set and I get that turning feeling in my gut, but luckily, so far, I’ve not had to drop my guitar and make a b-line to the closest lavatory.
My gigging schedule has been hectic. Easily the most busy I’ve ever been as a musician. I’m performing a three hour show every night except Fridays between two venues. 3 nights a week at Choppers Aussie Bar and Grill and 3 nights a week at Fishbow Beach Bar. I’ve also done the odd show at Banyan Bar and Maya Beach Club. It’s getting me fit. I’ve lost about 10kgs and I can now manage the hot, sweaty shows without the assistance of an M-150 or the need for a power nap post performance. Playing every night also does wonders for my progression as an artist and a looper. And though I am working hard, I love my job. It sends me to tropical islands and attracts me to beautiful people. It pays my way and supports my partner. It never boxes me in, rather it encourages me to push the boundaries. And it’s got to be one of the only occupations in the world that inspires the boss to buy you a shot when you’re doing a good job.
Which brings me too the drinking. Hang over management is a big part of Koh Tao life. If you are not careful you will end up with the worst hangover you’ve ever experienced. Tropical hang overs are like tropical storms, they come on hard and fast and no matter how many times you see one the intensity is always awe inspiring. The cheaply brewed Thai alcohol mixed with the humid, hot nights of sweating means hydration is a constant battle.
These days I steer clear of the cheap Thai whiskeys and just stick to beer. “One beer, one water”. At first I get laughed at like I’m some kind of amateur but the tide turns when I bump into those that were laughing at the 7-11 at 3am and I’m still clear headed and walking straight while they are hunched over a bin throwing up the cheap buckets and late night street food. I can’t help myself but to remind them. “One beer, one water”.
One thing that has been so beautiful this month is the visits we have received from back home. A big shout out and thank you has to go to Danielle, Jonno, Mikey, Edan, Casey, Hayley, Dave, Mick and Anthea. It was so amazing sharing this little island with you all. I hope you fell in love with it as I have and it continues to be a destination for you all for many more years. Then from old friends to new friends.
I’ve met so many beautiful people on this island and formed some amazingly close bonds. I hope I can keep those relationships as close to my heart as they are now as we move on to the next leg of #looptheworld. Hannah and I will be back on the island in January we think. For those of you that will still be here I look forward to seeing you again. For those of you that will have left Tao, stay in touch. Maybe we’ll come visit you in your country.
We are three months in now and the idea of living life on the road still feels fresh and exciting. Sadly, on Thursday this week, I play my last show on Koh Tao. Friday we go to Bangkok, Saturday we Fly to Moscow, Sunday to Athens then a ferry out to the island of Ios where I start my Greek Island gigging schedule. 7 Nights a week this time, wow.
On Sunday April 26th 2015 I had my first ever loop performance on live to air radio and Will Hayman from Byron Bay TV was there to catch it all. The performance took place during the Sunday midday show Live and Local with Al Stark on Bay FM 99.9 three weeks into my #looptheworld tour.
This is actually two songs but ever since I started performing them and always grouped them together. Eventually I plan to have most of my set like that. The first track “She Told Me” I wrote while on stage once at the Birmingham Hotel on Smith st in Collingwood. I’d looped the start of the track and a woman approached me from the dance floor. I don’t think she quite understood the loop concept. She came up and started yelling “You need to sing!” The next words to come out of my mouth were the chorus “She told me that I need to sing, down here at the Birmingham”. I often appropriate this song to whatever venue I am playing at the time. This performance you’ll notice I sing “She told me that I need to sing, on live and local BayFM”. It lends it’s self easily to those kinds of improvisations.
The second song is the bastard child of three songs I’ve written in the past. The guitar riff was originally the pre-chorus to a jazz/hip hop track I wrote last year named “Dream”. The chorus lyrics are from a song I played with the Eclective named “It’s On” and one of the verses is from a song I did with Direct Influence way back in the early days named “So Right”. I like the way they blend together. It changes key from Dm to Am but the “She Told Me” chorus lyrics still work and even though the beat is exactly the same, with all the syncopation in “Gather the Matter” it feels like there is a groove change.
I first wrote this song as a 1-4-5 upbeat swung rock n roll track but I was never really happy with where it sat so had never started performing it live. Then last year while I was on Koh Tao, Thailand with Andy V we began jamming a Ray Charles inspired groove at a bar called Fishbowl and the Lyrics found their home. You can hear the first time I ever played it here. It’s changed a little since then as I had to work on a way to play it with out the help of Andy V, but the general arrangement is still the same.
This song has been with me a long time however I think this is the first loop performance recording of the track. I first wrote it in 2006 while playing with the Groove Collective in Byron Bay. It never made it to the studio until 2012 when I went in with The Simon Wright Band for “Live at 52”. That performance which you can see here, earned me a nomination for the Australian Independent Music Awards 2013, a position in the Victorian finals for the Telstra Road To Discovery and made the finals of the national Catapult Song Contest with names like Ash Grunwald and Dallas Frasca.
The basic idea of the song is a love song dedicated to the life long partner I’ve chosen in music. People often ask who is the girl I was writing about, but it’s no girl, it is music. Recently “Music” passed 10,000 views on youtube and is the first of my original songs to accomplish this milestone. You can purchase a copy along with the rest of “Live at 52” from http://www.simonwright.com.au
In June 2014 I met up with Andy V on Koh Tao in the Thai Gulf to play a string of shows over 12 days. We played every night except one in two venues. Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays we would play at an Aussie Bar namedChoppersand on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays we would play at a bar on the beach named Fishbowl. Though Andy and I have played a lot of music together in the past it had been almost 3 years since our last jam (With the exception of one hip little gig at a whiskey bar in Byron Bay). In this time both Andy and myself had started playing with the Boss RC loop stations. I am on Beatbox, guitar, vocals and MCing and Andy takes control of bass, keys, sax and vocals. It’s amazing what two guys with loop stations can get cooking.
It was great fun working with Andy, I learnt a lot and played some of the best music of my life in a tropical paradise. Good times.
WE LOVE THE RAILS! If we were a football team this would be our home turf. I grew up in Byron and watched my dad play at the Rails when I was just a kid, I can remember watching him thinking “What the hell is he doing that makes them all dance so crazy”. Who’d have thought 20 years later I’d be doin the same thing. Still haven’t figured out what it is though. My dad will be joining me for this one which is even more special. As well as Shaneo on drums and Richard Rose on bass.
Also on the bill is local blues rocker Marshal O’Kell. This dude knows how to get a room sweaty, so I can promise you, between us, this New Years Eve at the Rails is going to be a sweaty, funky, groovy mess and I can’t wait!!
Tickets are only $25 and they are available from the venue from next week. You can not buy them online as they are hoping to keep it a local vibe. It will probably sell out, and it WILL be the place to be so if your not in town give the bar a call and they will reserve a ticket for you.
See you there.
The “Bruns” Sunday aro session has turned into a bit of an icon in the local area. Every week they are pulling great acts like Bobby Alu, Oka, Tijuana Cartel and Donavon Frankenreiter. After a great gig up at the Bruns Almost a year ago Dave the booker down there has been trying to get us a Sunday spot, but bad luck has plagued us. Last time we were up, it rained out which was so disappointing. Lets hope for some beautiful north coast summer weather for this one. I can’t wait. The gig is 4 sets too, so you get to see the full show here (ie. extended outros on every track because we don’t have enough material to fill 4 hours, ha, but lets be honest they’re the best bits right?) My Old man will be on lead guitar, Shaneo on drums and our bass player from Melbourne is comin up this time too, Mr Richy Rose. It will be a great gig, don’t miss it.